Nicolas Cage: a life in film
To celebrate the release of his latest movie, 'Knowing', Time Out takes a look at the enduring box office appeal of Nicolas Cage
Yet despite the lack of traditional matinee idol looks, an often tangential approach to the script at hand and that schizoidal selection process, Cage has somehow parlayed his ‘bipolar hipster doofus’ persona into big, big box office and become far more than his questionable parts. But how did this funny-looking, gangly fellow end up facing off against John Travolta in groovy, big budget shootouts while careers of his peers withered, stagnated or went horribly wrong (Rob Lowe, we’re looking at you)?
|‘Is this wrong?’ 'Peggy Sue…'|
Born into the sprawling Coppola clan, Nicolas admirably changed his name early doors to avoid charges of nepotism. Since his entry into the biz coincided with Uncle Francis’s commercial meltdown, it’s uncertain whether he need have bothered, but it did at least announce that Cage was his own man. His turn as the high-handed Smokey in ‘Rumble Fish (1983) is notable in retrospect solely for its sobriety, but as the unpredictable Randy in vacuous teen pap ‘Valley Girl’ (also 1983) clues started to emerge as to his eventual peculiarities. Electing to have two teeth pulled to assist his portrayal of an injured Vietnam War vet in Alan Parker’s solid but grossly manipulative ‘Birdy’ (1984) suggested the boy was taking it all a bit too seriously. He was already all over the dial, but somehow harmonised his strange frequencies for baby-boomer time-travel romance ‘Peggy Sue Got Married’ (’86), delivering a deft comic performance of bridled lunacy.
1987 found him essaying wooden-handed New York baker Ronny Cammareri in Oscar-baiting Cher vehicle ‘Moonstruck’ and the cosmically inclined sneak-thief HI McDunnough in the Coen brothers’ peerless ode to trailer-park contentment, the family unit and turbocharged yodelling, ‘Raising Arizona’. In the former he looked put-upon and uncomfortable, in the latter he looked put-upon and so at home that they could have redirected his mail. It was a sign that during the early stages of his career, the big lunk put the weird before the wedge.
Weird on Top
|Van Dyke parks - 'Zandalee'|
‘I Am Normal!’
|I’m with stupid - 'Trapped In Paradise'|
Gongs and Geld
|In the drink - 'Leaving Las Vegas'|
|‘Shuddupayaface!’ 'Captain |
A National Treasure
|Bow-hunting skills - 'The Weather Man'|
Author: Adam Lee Davies
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